NaNoWriMo 2016: Resources and Events at Milk Wood

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shield-nano-blue-brown-rgb-hiresHark! What’s that we hear? Could it be the distant sound of pencil on paper? The tap, tap, tap of ideas dancing across keyboards?  With November just around the corner, it can only mean one thing: that crazy literary marathon known as National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), where the sane lose their minds and attempt to pen a novel in 30 days.

We’ll be offering an exciting calendar of writerly delights (naggings included) – word scrimmages, write-ins, as well as inspirational workshops, talks and articles from successful authors.

Join our Second Life® group Milk Wood Wrimos for event reminders and follow us on Twitter for daily tips – you’ll find lots of great links under the hashtag #virtualwrimos.


We are excited to announce that we’ll be hosting a selection of online workshops again this year. Click on the link below to participate at the specific time. These workshops are held in Second Life®. For details on how you can participate check out the following article.

NaNoWriMo Events at Milk Wood

All scheduled events take place at the Milk Wood Writing Group area. Please be aware that the clocks go back in the US on 6th November and on 30th October in the UK, and we go by Pacific Time in Second Life®.


NaNoWriMo Workshop with Huckleberry Hax
Ten years of NaNoWriMo: what have I learned about writing stories?

Saturday 22nd October, 2016
8am PT / 11am ET / 4pm GMT

2016 will be my eleventh attempt at NaNoWriMo and – hopefully – my tenth successful one. My first go in 2006 put an end to almost a decade of writer’s block and I’m still now processing why that was, over three quarters of a million words later. In this workshop I’ll share some of the insights I’ve had as to why writing a novel in this way can unlock your identity as a writer, and how everything we get taught about writing stories in school might just be completely wrong.


NaNoWriMo Prep Session 1 (held in local chat)

Saturday 22nd October, 2016
9am PT / 12 noon ET / 5pm GMT

NaNoWriMo is a demanding challenge and preparedness is the key. Join us for the first of our prep sessions where we’ll share vital NaNoWriMo tips, as well as a number of storyboard and plot development resources. Then we’ll sit down together and begin to plot in a timed writing session. You will be given homework, so come prepared to work both during and after the meet.


NaNoWriMo Prep Session 2 (held in local chat)

Friday 28th October, 2016
8am PT / 11am ET / 4pm GMT

Final preparation session before we start the 30-day challenge. Today we’ll provide you with a number of character profile worksheets and questionnaires, and we’ll use these resources to further plot our novel in a timed writing session. At the end of the workshop there will be a Q&A round for those with lingering questions.


What a Character!!!
Character Development Workshop
Hosted by Ercila Robbins

Saturday 29th October, 2016
8am PT / 11am ET / 4pm GMT

Join Ercila Robbins on Saturday at 8am as she shares her insights on character creation. The focus will be on how to build a character that people will remember, where to put your efforts, and when enough is enough. The program will discuss naming your character, using dialog to reveal your character, character complexity, growing a character over time, using back stories, and keeping physical attributes consistent.

Ercila is a crime novelist with four books under her belt, a poet, a former newspaper editor and a retired criminal attorney. She’s also been an instructor of business law and legal writing at her local community college, and has won awards for her poetry, including the University of Vermont graduate student award for poetry for 1997. She has her B.A. from the University of Maryland, European Division, and her J.D. from Vermont Law School. She is a 10-year veteran of Second Life®.


NaNoWriMo Kick-Off Party and Halloween Hunt

Monday 31st October, 2016
3pm PT / 6pm ET / 10pm GMT

A chance for you to meet your fellow Wrimos and chat about your NaNoWriMo ideas. Come dressed as a fairytale character and you might win a prize. The Halloween hunt will take place straight after the meet. Trick or treat?


The Business of Writing
Hosted by Emerian Rich

Thursday 10th November, 2016
8am PT / 11am ET / 4pm GMT

The Business of Writing with writer, editor, and podcast host Emerian Rich (Emz Mazie). So, you want to be a writer? What can you do before your career takes off to build your reader base? How do you get your work out there? What are editors looking for and how do you approach them? What avenue should you take? What can podcasting do for your career and how do you start? Join us and come armed with questions. Emerian is a rich source of information.


The Character of Place
Hosted by Gwen Enchanted

Friday 11th November, 2016
12 noon PT / 3pm ET / 8pm GMT

Where is your story set? Does it matter? How do we make places come alive? Come spend an hour with Gwen Enchanted. Gwen is a writer, Harper, knitter, songwriter, dilettante. She holds a Masters Degree (Distinction) in Creative Writing from Middlesex University and is currently pursuing a PhD in the same subject at Anglia Ruskin University. She also loves cats.


POV .. What Is It and Why Is It Causing All These Problems?
presented by Aoife Lorefield

Thursday 17th November, 2016
8am PT / 11am ET / 4pm GMT

Point of View (POV) is one of the key choices we make in writing, but it’s often overlooked. (I speak from experience here!) Usually we know whether we’re writing in first person or third, but whose POV are we looking from? How many POV characters can I have? How do I switch among them?

At this session, we’ll review the basics, talk about the most common choices writers make today, and what happens if you want to do something completely different.

A handout with links and examples will be provided!

NaNoWriMo in Second Life®

If you haven’t had the opportunity to visit our sim in Second Life® then make some time this November. You’ll find an incredibly diverse and active community of writers and the level of support is second to none.

Our Second Life® NaNoWriMo word meter will be up and working on the 1st at our virtual writers’ camp, and you’ll need to join the Milk Wood Wrimos group in order to obtain our participant titler. Be sure to pick up the free gift box for virtual Wrimos at the camp. It’s full of fun writing resources to use in Second Life® and beyond.


NaNoWriMo Write-Ins

Monday – Sunday at 8-9am PT / 11am-12 noon ET / 4-5pm GMT, with Harriet Gausman. Held throughout November.

Writers’ Dash & 500 Word Snatch

We also have a Writers’ Dash running every Monday-Friday at 6am PT with Doyle Slen and a 12 noon PT 500 Word Snatch at Book Island on Sunday with Schaduw Farspire.

The writing session begins with a prompt, and a timer is set for either fifteen or thirty minutes. Participants then write feverishly for the allotted time, using the word (or picture) as inspiration. The key is to disengage your inner editor and write freely without the worry of perfection. As well as being useful for sketching out notes and scenes before November, and for kick-starting your writing sessions during the month, these sprints are a fun way to increase your word count. For those attending the Dash sessions, there will also be an opportunity for you to receive a brief critique from fellow writers. These meets occur throughout the year and are not limited to November.

Word Scrimmage Events on Second Life®

Random word wars held during November. Most battles begin on the hour and last for 30 minutes. Look out for the start and end notices from Milk Wood Wrimos. Feel free to start your own scrimmage by posting an alert in group chat.


Pre-NaNo Prep Resources

Word Tracker Spreadsheets

Storyboard & Plot Development

Character Profile Worksheets & Questionnaires

Other Online Resources

Cliché Finder

Online Graphical Dictionary (find word meanings and associations)

Scrivener Writing Software

Writing Apps

Write or Die: Helps eliminate writer’s block. A new kind of writing application that provides consequences for distraction and procrastination. As long as you keep writing, everything is fine, but if you become distracted, there are customizable consequences.

The Writing Shed: Lets you create writing projects for Novels, Short Stories and Poetry. In addition to being a powerful word processor it enables you to organise your work and manage its submission for publication.

Index Card: Index Card is a corkboard writing app that helps you easily capture, organize, and compile your ideas.

iA Writer: A clean and simple writing environment that treats text as text and makes writing delightful.

Evernote: Take notes, create to-do lists, and save things you find online into Evernote. It will sync everything between your phone, tablet, and computer automatically.


General Writing

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
Bird By Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron

Great for NaNoWriMo

The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi
The Negative Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Flaws by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi
The Positive Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Attributes by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi


Look out for daily tips on Twitter, regular articles from published authors on and workshops & pep talks from successfully published NaNoWriMo author

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